AFL 2019: Grand Final Preview – Richmond vs GWS

Eddie Langtree gives us his unique take on what awaits us in the biggest game of the year.


OK so we discussed the gambling thing last week and now I’m typing this on a Palm Pilot in my parents’ spare room. It could be worse, Mum could have said the kids couldn’t move in too, or my wife, or the dogs. All the humans are on the floor because the dogs won’t share the single inflatable mattress.
The odds are remarkably similar this week with the Tigers paying $1.44 to the Giants $3.25 – again clearly the Tigers are the favourites but we learned last week, the Giants are made of sterner stuff. They out-grunted the Pies in the rain and while the Giants held on, the last quarter was telling. Richmond started poorly against Geelong but cruised into gear and despite the big additions for GWS, Richmond, come Saturday, should gleefully accept another Premiership like Sportsbet gleefully accepted my house.

Recent Meetings

Not really relevant in a Grand Final but here it is anyway
Round 3 – Giants by 49: Richmond had already lost Rance and then Grimes due to suspension. Jeremy Cameron kicked seven against a backline working itself out again. Dusty found out how much of a pain Matt DeBoer can be and Jack Riewoldt missing too.
Round 17 – Richmond by 27: Jack came back for this one, Kelly was missing for GWS and Jeremy Finlayson inexplicably left out. Toby Greene led all comers in the stats.

Talking Points

Talls – last week GWS went in seemingly light with Mumford taking on Brodie Grundy single handed. Lachie Keefe was drafted in as back up but was soon sent back to cover for the injured Phil Davis, leaving Adam Tomlinson to fill the gaps. This week, Mumford goes up against Nankervis and Soldo while Keefe has been left out

Talls v2.0 – surely Phil Davis isn’t 100% right. He looked pretty banged up and played most of the game forward. Mumford was stout last week against Grundy in conditions that suited him and reduced Grundy’s impact. Saturday’s going to be dry. If only GWS had someone who could cover in the backline and the ruck ….
Expect Keefe to play – Brent Daniels could be the unlucky one here.

DeBoer vs DeDusty – The whole Collingwood midfield was quiet last week. This can only be attributed to to Matt DeBoer single handedly shutting down the celebrated Collingwood on ballers. Silencing Dusty will be a walk in the park. Dusty had fifteen disposals in Round 3 when DeBoer played, prompting Dimma to complain about the protection Martin was getting. his output went up to 25 in Round 17 but DeBoer didn’t play. Look for Hardwick to push Martin forward if DeBoer reduces his output again.

Marlion Pickett – making his debut in a Grand Final is a talking point. It’s hard to see him having a big influence on the game but here’s hoping. I’m going for the story.

Key Players

Jeremy Cameron – in one corner … Coleman medallist, lethal left boot, huge tank. What we love to see in our full forwards. Makes a serious combination with Himmelburg and Finlayson. Astbury probably gets him

Tom J Lynch – in the other. Lynch didn’t start so well at his new club but he has fitted in beautifully now and is teaming up with Riewoldt . This looks liek a job for Phil Davis – let’s hope he has recovered from last week. Lynch is quick, mobile and also has a good kick and will not give Davis any rest.

Cotchin – it’s hard to see how a Brownlow Medallist and captain can go under the radar but all the attention is on Dustin Martin. As has been the norm in the last few week, expect Martin to spend a lot of time forward. DeBoer will not go forward with Martin so his overtures will likely turn to Cotchin who has always proven difficult to tag. Cotchin is key here in the battle of the midfields. If he can hold his own, with Edwards and Prestia, expect a lot of quality forward movement for Lynch et al.

Big Mummy – in what is widely touted as his last game (again), how he goes against two genuine ruckmen on a dry day is key to this game. His bash style of game is hard work and will be made harder to follow up on a dry MCG with a fast moving ball. Does he go out Alistair Lynch style and try to “mitigate” one of his opponents?

The Verdict

If my gambling misfortune has taught me anything it’s that I should scrape as much money as I can together and put it on GWS so I can minimise my losses from last week. $3.40 is pretty attractive especially if it means I can get my house back – I’d hate to go two houses down

It’s hard to see GWS getting up here. Greene and Whitfield are big ins and while the two games in four weeks thing saw some ordinary performances from Richmond (which they still won), they are purring now. It feels like GWS played their Grand Final last week and I expect the Tigers to win this by plenty – we are talking 1980 margins. Tom Lynch for Norm after dining out on an injured Phil Davis.

Pinch Hitter Predictions

AdrianGWS by 6Toby Greene
BozzaGWS by 1Toby Greene
EddieRichmond by 61Tom Lynch
JaiGWS by 5Jeremy Cameron
JarrodRichmond by 31Dustin Martin
JoelRichmond by 21Bachar Houli
ReddaRichmond b 38Bachar Houli

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